Email is a necessary evil in almost every workplace.
Get the most out of your career.
Are you stuck in a rut in a job you despise and/or suffering under a moronic, lazy boss who is literally sucking the life out of you? Are you half expecting to wake up with a grey patch in your hair from all the stress?
If you answered yes, you might need to find your self-belief fast, sister, in order to take a leap of faith and achieve your full careers potential.
When *Sally, 35, (not her real name) was retrenched from a major media company, she felt sick to her stomach, shocked and utterly lost. What’s more, her former bosses were anything but enthusiastic about her unique skills set, so her self-esteem also took a giant hit.
But as the weeks ticked by and Sally regained her inner strength, composure and sense of humour, she realised being made redundant was actually the best thing to have happened to her in ages. She was bitterly unhappy in her job anyway, detested her misogynistic, bullying middle-manager bosses and felt she’d never really reached her full potential. Redundancy was just the push she needed to achieve her goals.
So, never doubting her abilities, she realised she could now look forward to the future with hope and bag that exciting, new career. She started applying for jobs, and mere weeks later, Sally landed a dream marketing position at a major property firm, thereby doubling her annual salary.
This is a true story, with only the person’s name changed to protect their privacy.
Psychologists say self-belief is vital in achieving our career goals in 2015 and living our best life, with passion and gusto.
Why? Because if you truly believe in yourself and that you can achieve what you set out to do – ala Sally – you will have the motivation to move forward to achieve your goals and the determination to overcome whatever obstacles stand in your way. Conversely, if you don’t believe in your ability to achieve, you’ll give up when the first hurdle arises or worse – you won’t get started at all.
What’s more, calculated risks can really pay off, just like Sally’s, and really help you achieve your goals.
But, of course, with great change comes unease. It can take a lot of courage to embrace change because it’s often challenging to move out of our comfort zone, but for many, it has proven to be well worth the effort.
Before embarking on a new career, job experts say to carefully research your options and think about what you really love doing – find a job that excites you. And, if like Sally, you’ve encountered some “haters” along the way – bosses who undermine and underestimate you – you gotta rise above, the experts say.
After all, most of us at some stage have come across someone who, for their own reasons, wants to put us down. Maybe your bosses feel threatened by your potential success or just don’t want you to succeed?
Self-belief will also get you through this. If you believe that you can achieve something you will be able to ignore the nay-sayers and achieve your goals in spite of them.
And one final bit of advice from careers experts: do all you can to avoid these people as much as possible and instead seek out positive mentors and friends who will inspire you and encourage you to achieve your full potential.
Go get em’, tiger!
Main image via www.cseba.eu; secondary image via www.renewable-health-site.com and final image via www.thegrindstone.com
If you’ve ever watched even a little bit of a certain reality TV show, you’ll be familiar with the over-used term ‘likeability’ factor. Being likeable certainly helps when it comes to pulling in public votes and making it through to the next round of a competition, but how important is likeability in terms of career progression? Do you have to be liked to be successful?
In the early stages of a career, it can be crucial. When you’re on the lower rungs of the ladder, the bottom line is that you need to be liked, in some capacity, to land a job in the first place. “Also known in the industry as ‘cultural fit’, likeability is a reason many candidates don’t make the final cut,” states this article in US News.
“The interviewers either didn’t like them or didn’t believe they would mesh well with current employees.”
That’s an important point. It’s not just about your manager liking you; it’s the judgement call the manager makes on whether you’ll fit in with the existing team. You don’t have to be the most likeable person in the world, but you do have to be personable, to a degree, and demonstrate the kind of attitude which will make you a trusted and reliable team member. The wrong personality and a projection of that onto colleagues could mark you out as being difficult to manage and therefore limit future opportunities.
As you progress through your career – hopefully in an upward trajectory – and begin to take on more senior positions and management roles, the requirements begin to shift a little. If you’re at the stage in your life where you are in the market for COO jobs, for example, do you need to be likeable? In the role of Chief Operating Officer, typically answerable only to the chief executive, does one need to be liked?
This article believes so. It makes the link between being likeable and developing charisma, which is a very desirable quality in the workplace. It asks, ‘Have you ever worked with a very charismatic leader? If so, then it’s likely that almost everyone in the organisation liked, trusted and admired this person.’ Being likeable is a personality trait which extends easily into other important qualities.
That sentiment is echoed in a recent piece by Forbes, which extolled the benefits of possessing an attractive attitude. Is that the same thing as being likeable? In a way, yes. Channelled in the right way, likeability can command respect and help to inspire others. It certainly help in establishing a great rapport with colleagues and staff; it can make people want to work with you, and for you. It can increase loyalty and performance.
In senior positions, being likeable is not enough to success on its own, of course. It’s often asked whether it’s more important to be liked or respected; a healthy amount of both is ideal. There will be a time when difficult decisions need to be made, sometimes the very worst of decisions – dismissing a member of staff – and being liked will stand for little then.
In short, likeability is a desirable quality but only one of several required to be an effective leader in significant management roles.
One of the joys of being in your 40s is a new-found confidence, self-assurance and a no-bullshit attitude. You know who you are; you no longer waste time on people in either your private or your work life who don’t keep their word.
I’m talking about integrity: it’s such a small word, but one with enormous impact. Why is it so hard for some people to keep their word and act with decency and honesty in their business dealings? We all know the type: ruthless, unscrupulous people who rip you off at every opportunity, who owe money all over town. For them, business ethics are non-existent. Thank God for a beautiful thing called karma, I say!
Corporate etiquette expert Jodie Bache-McLean (pictured), the much-respected director of both June Dally-Watkins (JDW) and Dallys Model Management, says the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles is a highly admirable life skill that’s sometimes underrated in the business world.
“Ethics in business is extremely important; unethical behaviour or a lack of corporate social responsibility can damage a firm’s reputation,” Jodie says. “Ethics influence and contribute to employee commitment, customer satisfaction and reputation and image. And ethics are also about an individual’s moral judgement about right and wrong, so the decision to behave ethically is a moral one.
“If you keep your word, you do what you have promised to do. When our words do not match our actions, we lose a measure of healthy ownership and control over our lives.
“Essentially, this is what is called a soft skill. However, sometimes it’s the least-considered skill which is so paramount in what constitutes an effective manager or leader. Human or people skills refer to the core of ethics, treat others as you would be treated: with respect, honesty and trust.”
A lack of business ethics can be simply due to a person’s need to “save face,” Jodie says. “It is sometimes easier to lie than say no, or admit fault,” she says. “At times, we all want to avoid confrontation. The saying ‘a little white lie’ comes to mind – it is far easier to tell a little lie than to hurt someone’s feelings or cover up a mistake that you have created.”
So, can business ethics be taught, or are some business executives lost causes?
“First, you need to find your own moral compass, the way we behave is directly related to our learned behaviour. There is a saying: ‘you cannot give what you do not have,'” Jodie says.
“Teaching ethics is not like teaching finance or accounting procedures; it is about developing moral principles which define right and wrong from a universal point of view.
“But with all teaching, you need to lead by example. Many companies and business executives fall short on ethics in business and it becomes more about: ‘Do what I say, not what I do’. What they fail to recognise, is that showing business ethics is a strength, not a weakness.”
Images via corporatecomplianceinsights.com, youqueen.com
January 11, 2005
We show you how by conducting a personal stocktake, deciding where you want to be, making a plan and staying on track with that plan you can increase your career success.
Conduct a personal stocktake
Assess where you are and what have you achieved in the past 12 months. Make a list and consider: What were the highs? What were the lows? What did you enjoy the most? What did you achieve career-wise? Have you achieved a good work/life balance?
Where would you like to be?
Now that you have assessed your progress, start to think about where you would like to be in your career and personal life. Be completely open and honest with yourself by listing all of your dreams and goals. Even list the things that may be out of your reach.
Set about making a plan
Now that you have assessed what you have achieved in the past and what you want to achieve in the future, start to make a plan of how you can get to where you really want to be. Consider what steps you have to take from where you are today in order to get to where you ultimately want to be.
Work out what you have to do to get to the position you desire in your career and life. Then think about how long it will take to get there. Plan out what you have to achieve in the year and then break it down to what you have to do each month, and even each week.
How to stay on track with your plan
We all know from experience that it is one thing to have a great plan but a whole other thing to actually stick to the plan.
The following are some tips to keep you focused on your plan and ultimately achieve your objectives:
- Make it fun – As Ita Buttrose once said: “If you love your job, then you never have to work another day in your life.” Use this concept when setting goals find fun ways to achieve the things you want to achieve
- Get a coach – Hire a professional coach to keep you on track. If you can’t afford a coach right now then get a friend to help, someone who is creative and motivating, and someone who will keep you on track and help you to enjoy the process
- Set achievable goals – Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are too high. Start by setting small goals and reward yourself each time that you achieve one of the goals
- Remember it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If you remember this then it will help you to get through those tough days
- Self-analyse – Each day analyse your progress, what did you do well what could you have done better. Be kind but thorough in your self analysis
- Visualise success – Imagine yourself having achieved the goal or objective. Think about how you will feel
- Assess your progress throughout the year
This article was written by Lisa O’Brien from Careerscoach, which specialises in career coaching, interview training, corporate coaching, life coaching and job seeker applications
There is so much contradictory advice about what’s expected at a job interview that it can confuse you. And you want to demonstrate certainty in a job interview, not confusion. There is one thing that will make you stand out and be remembered by potential employers. A vivid message about yourself.
1. The first page of your resume
The front page of your resume is a great opportunity. It’s your billboard! Unfortunately most people ignore this golden opportunity and have a front page with basic details. There are a 100 resumes on a manager’s desk. Make yours grab attention with a vivid message that outlines your key skills.
2. Craft your message for the interview
The key focus of your preparation is to craft your message. How? First, make sure it’s aligned to your key skills or strengths. Second, do your research on the organisation and the job role you are applying for. Remember, employers are interested in what you can do for them. You don’t have to be something you’re not. Just be clear. For example: ‘I’m a great designer who lives by 2 things: 1) Listening to the brief and using my creativity to meet client needs, not play with my own ego and 2) working to a deadline so everyone in the organisation can achieve their goals.’ Shorter message examples: ‘I am the quintessential project manager’ or, ‘I convince non-technical people to fund and support science projects’. Or something corny if you think it’s appropriate, like ‘I’m the Dark Lord of Wireless Gateway Design’ or ‘Social Media Trailblazer’ or ‘I’m witty, fun-loving and persuasive’. But remember, don’t just be cute, the emphasis should be on clearly communicating the value you bring to the role.
3. How to start the interview
As soon as you get the chance, deliver your core message. For example, I was interviewing a woman about a executive assistant role. I started by explaining the kind of environment we work in. Creative and busy, where priorities can change at short notice. Our executive assistant needs to able to comfortably adapt to those changes. She simply said, ‘Great, I love to be the organised person in a creative environment.’ I wanted to hire her then and there! That’s exactly what we needed and her message was delivered in such a clear way. A single sentence – then silence. No waffle to clutter the message. Of course, we still went through the rest of the interview, checked references, etc. But that message was what I repeated to colleagues when we discussed applicants for the role. She went straight to the top of the list.
4. What to do during the interview
Even though it’s called an ‘interview’, it’s better to think of it as a conversation – a peer-level conversation. Most people see it as a one-way, question and answer session. Remember that the purpose of the conversation is to find out whether your skills match the job on offer. The two of you play equal parts in this conversation. You explain your skill set and they explain the role. Give great explanations that expand on your message and paint a picture of how you will handle the role.
5. Questions you should ask
Ask questions about the role and the team. Remember, a job interview is a rich, two-way conversation. Bring up anything non-••negotiable for you. For example: Do you mind being contacted on weekends? It’s better for everybody to agree on this stuff at interview stage.
A vivid message is the basis of your personal brand. It leverages your skills, education and experience. Without this message, your skills look lifeless on paper. The best way to have influence in the job interview is to have a rich, 2-way conversation. Focus your preparation on your message and the stories that bring the message to life.
By Cam Barber, speaking coach to Jules Lund and Steve Waugh, and founder of Vivid Method
Don’t be too quick to yell, “yes” when offered a new role. Career experts advise that it’s important to spend some time looking ahead to see if the role will serve your professional long term goal.
Max Eggert, chief psychologist with Sydney-based firm Transcareer provided CareerOne with this list of 20 questions to ponder before you accept a job offer.
Some questions are obviously more important than others are, but all are significant and designed to help you make the right decision.
Be honest with yourself – don’t be blinded by money, desperation to get out of the job you are in or the fact the firm offering the job is supposedly fashionable or prestigious.
Here we go!
- Can I do the work required of me?If your answer is, “with my eyes closed”, then this job won’t hold you for long and it’s unlikely to help you build your skill set.
- Do I want to do this work?Again, if you are tired of your job it could be the work you are doing rather than just the particular work environment.
- How does this job fit into my ten-year career plan?
- How can I use this job to help me work towards my career goals?
- Is the job in sync with my values and principles?
- Will there be an opportunity for me to develop and learn new skills in this job? Always ask a potential employer about its attitude to training and development and if it will support your particular study aspirations.
- How long should I plan to stay in this job?
To work this out, you need to know about the opportunities for study, professional advancement and even if there are secondment programs available.
- Do I know the specific job criteria?
- Why did the last person leave this job and, are there any implications for me?
- Will I get on with my new boss?
- Will I get on with my new team?
- Will this job give me a greater profile in the company/industry and or profession?
- Is the market rate for the job equitable?
- Who can mentor me in this job so I can be successful?
- What will be the networking opportunity in this job?
- If this job does not work out? What is my “Plan B”?
- Will I be able to balance the demands of this job with my commitments and interests outside of work?
- How will this job affect my status in the organisation/community?
- How can I accelerate my experience in the early days/honeymoon period of this job?
- What is the earliest, easiest and highest profile success I can achieve in this job?
Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: email@example.com